Hi all, I am Carl Nelson, I hope your day is going great and you enjoy this post! First off, if you have chance to work in the Archives, do it. Our boss, Lisa Sjoberg, is an angel and just a great boss to work for. She is so understanding of our schedules, she gives you challenging and rewarding work tasks, (which may sound like something a person may not want to do for a campus job, but it is nice knowing that what you're doing something everyone else may not necessarily be able to do) and she is an angel. (whoops did I say that already?)
I love my story of how I ended up in this wonderful place called the Archives. This past summer (2013) I had been doing a job that just did not suit me well. One of my roommates, Nate LaCombe, who was and still is working at the Archives told me to talk to Lisa about a possible job opportunity. I met her once and she decided to offer me a job for at least short term, since some other workers were coming back and she was not sure about having enough space to keep me. I jumped at this opportunity, even if it was only short term. I could at least spend that time trying to find a job that better suited me than the one that I started out doing that summer. The month flew by and I was sad to leave this wonderful place, but some random events occurred involving one of the employees not being able to come back for the rest of the summer. When Lisa asked if I would like to stay, I was grateful for the chance to stay at this awesome place and ended up working here the rest of the summer and now into the school year. It will almost be a year now from when I started here! Time flies!
I am currently working on a project with my bro Adam Nelson. We are doing some demographic research on Alumni of their hometowns for all the years ending in "1" (1891, 1901, 1911, etc.) and counting how many students are from each town. It is pretty enjoyable to see exactly where Concordia's students are coming from and how far some of them are from Moorhead! A few other running jobs (jobs that never end) are relabeling folders and boxes in the record room and entering video cassette tapes into the database so they can be searched by the students and found easier. A project that I had just finished before this demographic research was a patron form database for the Archives that was previously just written down in a binder. It is a database that as patrons come in searching for something, an Archivist can enter what exactly they were searching for, how long it took to help them, what date it was, etc. Lisa and I hope this will be able to streamline the process and put all this data to good use. We are still deciding how it should be implemented and such, but I am pretty excited about the possibilities it will give us!
Whenever you are on the fourth floor of the Library, do not be afraid to stop in a say hello! All the workers here are so friendly and it is just a great atmosphere to be in! I am so thankful that Lisa gave me the opportunity to work here last summer, it has been a blast. See ya! :)
Hey everybody! It’s my first semester working in the Archives, so I guess you could say that I’m the “new guy” around here. Working in the Archives has so far been a fantastic experience. I get paid to work with history every day. Who gets to say that?
My journey to the Archives is a bit of a unique one. My freshman year for IOC I had Lisa [Sjoberg, the College Archivist] as my professor. For one of our speeches she had us do a historical topic that dealt with Concordia, which meant only one thing: a trip to the Archives! I thought it was so cool that all of these pictures, newspaper clippings, papers, flyers, etc. were available to the community. Then, this past semester, the Archives held a trivia contest in which the participants had to use the online resources that the Archives have in order to answer questions. I ended up getting second place, and it restarted my interest in the Archives. Long story short, I now work in the Archives, and it’s been great!
I currently am working on two projects. The first is preprocessing documents related to former college President Pamela Jolicoeur, who passed away while in office. It’s a very sobering thing to go through the papers of someone so important who died so suddenly, but I feel very honored to be given that privilege. The second project I’m working on is a bit of demographic research for the College’s 125th Anniversary in a couple years. Carl Nelson, another Archives worker, and I are going through every year ending in “1” (1891, 1901, 1911, etc.) and entering in all the hometowns of the students into an Excel spreadsheet. Once that’s done, we then count how many students are from which town. All this information is going to be entered into a GIS map that will show how far-reaching Concordia actually is. I won’t spoil for you the places students have come from, but I will say that it must have been a big leap of faith for these students to travel from their home countries all the way to Fargo-Moorhead.
If you’ve never visited the Archives before, it’s most definitely worth it. You may be surprised at what you find!
A couple of summers ago, I traveled to San Diego to present a session at the Society of American Archivists Annual Conference. Not being a particularly huge fan of flying (picture white knuckles grabbing the arm rests), I was a little on edge as we were taking off. The gentleman sitting next to me, Danny, noticed my distress and struck up a conversation. [To get a true sense of this conversation, a description of Danny would be helpful: he had numerous tattoos and piercings, he played in a band doing gigs on top of his day job as a software trainer, and he and his wife had recently become parents. And he was madly in love with his new little girl.] For the next hour, while Danny and I traveled from Fargo to Minneapolis, we talked about many things, including a debate about Bon Jovi's contribution to music (which I am a firm believer in). At one point Danny inquired about my work and where I was going. After I told him that I was an archivist, he responded with "An arch-i-who?" And continued with the question, "And there are multiple arch-i-who's who get together at conferences?"
The novelty factor and mystique of being an archivist certainly has its advantages: it is a great conversation piece and creates opportunities for those in my profession to share the importance of what we do. The unfortunate aspect is that I've come to realize that many people are unfamiliar with archives and archivists. Or if people know about this line of work, they may think of dusty attics or basements or movies such as National Treasure where the archivist is hanging onto a fast moving vehicle clutching a one-of-a-kind document (and in a ball gown no less). While I do not work in a dusty, secluded environment nor participate in high-speed chases on a regular basis, I do find my work, even better stated as my vocation, to be thrilling.
My response to "An arch-i-who?" is that I get to collect and take care of rare materials and help people use them to find needed information. Every day I get to be Sherlock Holmes and sleuth through documents to find needles in haystacks that can be used to answer a question. I love being surrounded by one-of-a-kind documents every day, and there's nothing more rewarding that seeing our patrons get excited as they use our materials. We help people touch the past by using these original primary sources. There are not abridged versions or Cliff notes for archival materials; the primary sources that archivists collect and preserve promote reading, investigation, and require drawing one's own conclusions. And of course, I am so very fortunate to be surrounded by an amazing cadre of student workers and interns that share my love and passion for what we do.
My mantra as an archivist is a quotation from Julie Hendry who stated, "What better way to ensure that the policy makers and voters of tomorrow are both critical thinkers and sensitive to archival concerns than to introduce them at an early age to the usefulness of archives?” My continued hope is that more and more people will understand and use archives. And I am thankful to Danny who not only helped keep me calm during our flight, but also allowed me to share why I love what I do.
Contributed by Lisa Sjoberg, college archivist
 Julia Hendry, “Primary Sources in K-12 Education: Opportunities for Archives,” The American Archivist 70, no. 1 (2007): 129.
Hi readers! This is my first semester working in the Archives so I am relatively new. But I can already tell you that I LOVE working up here! I mostly just do random tasks around the Archives wherever I am needed but I have recently been given the PERMANENT task of updating the Faculty Cards collection we keep in the Archives. If you ever need to know when a Concordia College faculty member started or stopped working at Concordia, these cards are for you! And luckily, they have all been recently updated by yours truly.
I also have done my fair share of preprocessing donations that Tessa mentioned earlier, but I have also done quite a bit of picture processing as well. A short time before I started working in the Archives, we received a very large donation of pictures. In order for these pictures to be accessible to you all, they need to be given identification numbers, added into our picture database, and then filed away into Nathan's vertical picture files. This was a very large task, but I am proud to say that it is nearly finished and all of the pictures I added and MANY more are available up here on the fourth floor of the library for your viewing pleasures! I really enjoyed processing all of these photos because I love pictures! But especially OLD pictures and we have lots of those! So you all need to come up here and check them out!
I have also dabbled in working with OMEKA, which is the Archives' online exhibit where you can view various articles, written by our very own archivist Lisa Sjoberg, and plenty of pictures as well. I helped to upload pictures to the Cord Radio exhibit that is on the site now. Go check it out! There are some cool old pictures of radio at Concordia from years past! I also helped to put up the Archives bulletin board located at the entrance of the Carl B. This bulletin board is changed each month and corresponds with the online exhibits! Make sure you look for new bulletin boards each month as you come into the library! I had fun putting it up so I hope you enjoy looking at it!
The most recent task I completed in the Archives was reading through former Concordia President Knutson's chapel speeches! I was helping to look for information for a partron who was using the Archives to help research. If you would like to read some of the interesting things our former president talked about come on up and see for yourself!
And remember! If you are ever doing research, don't forget to look in the Concordia Archives! You never know what interesting things you might find up here!